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tain of such elevation as to afford a view of forty miles in every direction, and were he to change his position so often that a similar landscape were presented to him every hour, allowing twelve hours to the day, it would take more than nine years to see the surface of the globe, even in this hurried and indistinct
Then you observe no allowances are made for the state of the weather, nor for drawbacks from ill-health; there is no deduction for the time spent in travelling over the intervening eighty miles of country. Even supposing it were possible to accomplish all this, how confused at the end of this time would our notions on the subject be.”
"Why certainly,” said Mary, “one place would soon put another out of one's head. I think if geography must be learnt, that the old way is the easiest ; but I do not see that there is any use in going over a book more than once."
“ The thing is, Mary, to acquire the information, and that must be done by patient thought and attention ; you must have links in your mind which will enable you to associate one place with another, just as Jane was able to associate the places that were hid in the fog to-day, with those that were visible."
“I had never before exactly thought about the size of the earth,” said Jane ; "only think of its taking nine years to see it all."
“I remember," I said, “another calculation in the same book that I have already alluded to; it was this. That in order to make an accurate survey of the globe, so as to visit every square mile of its surface, if a person were so diligent as to travel over thirty miles a day, it would take-how long do you think Mary?"
“Oh I dare say, four times as long as the survey from the mountains." “ And Jane, what is your
idea ?" “I would give eight times as long : that will allow plenty of time to rest, and would make between seventy and eighty years. The patriarchs might have done it."
“No Jane : you will be surprised to hear that had Adam himself commenced it, he would not yet have completed more than a third part of his tour, for the whole of which, more than eighteen thousand years would be required. It is difficult to realize this without minute calculation ; but when we thus ascer
tain how little one human mind can accurately know of this world we live in, how it enlarges our conceptions of the power and wisdom of Him, by whose word the globe itself was called into being. There is no spot on it unmarked by his watchful eye-no place where his ear is not ready to listen. Nay, more than that, for there is no place where we can escape his presence, and since the creation, there has been no spot on that wide surface where his providence has not been in unceasing operation."
Mrs. Grant here interposed with some questions about our walk, but I was happy to see that the interest of the girls was awakened, and they often afterwards recurred to the subject, and expressed their surprise that, to use Jane's expression, “any religion could be drawn out of a geography lesson."
Every one who not only reads the Bible, but thinks over it, must be struck with the value of geographical knowledge, towards a full understanding of the bearing of one event upon another. Of late years this has been elucidated by many in every variety of form, not only in disquisitions for the learned, but in simpler explanations adapted to the Sunday school ; many have, indeed, run to and fro, and knowledge is increased to a degree which our ancestors could have little anticipated. The question is, do we benefit by all this increased information ? Have we a stronger and and more deep conviction that the Most High appoints the dwellings of all, whether they be nations or individuals ? We have daily proof that knowledge alone, still, as in the time of the apostle, "puffeth up," unless it is accompanied by practical results. Let then, none of our young readers think a geography lesson is a slight and unimportant thing. To the christian, nothing that increases his knowledge in any degree, with the exception of course of things sinful in themselves, is insignificant. Without the light that geography, combined with history, throws upon the Bible, how little of the prophetical scriptures could we understand. We are speaking now simply of fulfilled prophecy, and of such as admits of no difference of interpretation. The promises connected with the Holy Land; the many wonderful circumstances associated with the distribution of the inheritance of the various tribes; the predictions as to the fate of the surrounding nations, every one so minutely fulfilled ; the rise and fall of the four great monarchies :-all these things are so many
mere words to those ignorant of the relative position, and the past and present state of those countries. Even when we come to the life of our blessed Saviour, how minute are the points of geographical knowledge required for a full understanding of many things. We have not time to enter upon the consideration of them, but we hope each of our readers will observe them for themselves. And how much comfort is to be derived when we thus look upon events and places as not standing alone, but as being all included in one great scheme of administration.
It is no longer mere matter of history, even to the youngest amongst us, that thrones may be shaken and kingdoms pass away. In times of universal peace we naturally think that such occurrences only belong to a former state of things with which we have nothing to do. But when nation after nation is trembling to its very foundations, and when all thoughtful persons see in what is passing in other countries but the prefiguration of what may ere long happen among ourselves, then is the time to realize that the Most High does indeed rule among the kingdoms of man, and giveth them to whorn he will.
Never has poet drawn a more striking comparison, than that which likens the rage of the people to the roaring of the sea.wild, turbulent, unrestrained : but we may rejoice our hearts with the words of the Royal Psalmist, that “the Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea !" If they adva it is only by permission, and we have the comfort of knowing, that without that, they do but rage in vain.
Thus the study of geography becomes no longer a dry record of names of places, but may be made subservient to the formation of the christian character, by strengthening the foundations of our faith and trust in Him whose dominion is over all.
IDOLATRY AND MISSIONS. Our attention has been called to this subject by the receipt of an elegant little tract, entitled “ Idolatry, a Lecture to the Young; by our esteemed friend, Mr. W. B. Gurney. In this age of cheap books, we know of none better worth the price than this. It
* London: Houlston and Co.; and John Snow.
contains, in addition to its forty-eight pages of letter press, no less than thirty wood engravings, and its getting up is altogether of a very superior character. It has, moreover, especial claims on our notice, as having been “ delivered to many thousand children and youth in various parts of the kingdom," and as emanating from the pen of an individual so prominently connected with one of our most active and useful missionary societies.
We are indeed indebted to our missionaries, for an entirely new theory of idolatry and mythology. Scarcely half a century since, the subject was fearfully misunderstood, or at all events, strangely misrepresented. Philosophy and intellectuality, and a deep knowledge of the mysteries of physics and metaphysics were then supposed to be involved in the multiform systems of Paganism abroad in the world, and every kind of absurdity in creed, and of impropriety, or folly, or indecency, in practice, fourid. its apologists amongst the highly educated and acute writers of the day. But missionary enterprise has drawn aside the veil, and shewn us the true character of idolatry as earthly, sensual, devilish.”
And it was high time the public mind should be disabused. The case is strongly put, in the little tract before us.
“Suppose that in going home you saw a house on fire; the flames just beginning to burst out, and you were aware that there were people in it who were asleep ; you would not go home and go to bed! Oh no! you could not sleep while you had suffered them to be burnt in their beds, when you might have prevented it. You would run and call under the windows, and knock, and make such a noise as you had never made in your life before, sooner than let them be burnt; and when you saw them all out, how would your hearts rejoice in having been the means of saving them from destruction. Now this is very right; it is just what every good child would do. He never could be happy so long as he lived if he had omitted to do so, and evil came upon them in consequence.
“Or, suppose that in the village in which you live a disease was raging, which would be fatal unless it was removed ; that you had been affected by it, and brought near the gates of death ; and that your father and mother had been affected by it; and
that you had been directed to a physician at some neighbouring town, who had cured you, made you quite sound, and told you that if you knew any one affected with the same disease, you had only to send them to him and he would cure them without money and without price ; that it was a pleasure to him to cure all who came, and you knew that he never failed. Suppose, when you rose in the morning, you found your next neighbour or your school-fellow very ill, and at a little distance further off, another neighbour very ill ; what would you do? Would you go to work, or go to school, and say, 'I am sorry for them, but it is not for me to interfere?' No, you would go and tell them of this kind physician. You would entreat them, as they valued their lives, to go to him; and you would not be satisfied till you had seen them on their way, and then you would be happy in knowing that you had been the means of saving them from death. Now this is just what we are doing in a more important
These persons if they died, might go to heaven ; but we have to do with those who are dying of the disease of sin, and who when they die will be eternally lost.”
Now this, trite and simple as many may esteem it, constitutes the whole philosophy of missions. Whilst the wise and learned of the world were speculating on the occult import of these false creeds and systems, and endeavoring to find more meaning in them than their inventors and propagators ever dreamed of, the philanthropist and the Christian could not get over the fact, that they deceived, demoralized, brutalized, and ruined the people. And this naturally put them upon the enquiry, “ Can there be anything of truth, or reason, or intellectuality, in a scheme so apparently silly, and so really gross, cruel, and sensual ?" The result has proved these “ innovators" on the old philosophy to be right; let the following little incident given by Mr. Gurney, speak for itself.
“ The priests,” says he, “ tell the people that Juggernaut likes human sacrifices ; they say he smiles when blood is offered to him, so, as the car advances, some persons to please him, and to obtain the pardon of their sins, throw themselves in front of the wheels of the car while it is being drawn along, and are crushed to death. This, I have said, is to obtain the pardon of their sins, for like the ancient idolaters, they are aware that they are